Quick, quick, slow and some (Africanized) eighth notes

Yesterday we learned about eighth notes. When we sing or play to notes to only ONE beat, we know these are eighth notes. Why? We have just divided our one (quarter) note in half. And that’s just math: divide 1/4 in half and you get 1/8. Picture cutting an apple into 4 pieces. Each piece is 1/4 of the apple. Then cut the 1/4 slice into two pieces, and you have two 1/8 slices. That’s the same as dividing a quarter note beat in half.

We can sing it “tee tee” or “quick quick” or “ap-ple” or the whole “quick, quick slow” (eighth, eighth, quarter) as “cherry pie.” (Cherries kind of remind me of 2 eighth notes joined together.)








Remember when we sang the ABC song in class? Our metronome was sounding off the beats for us, and each letter got one beat, until we got to “G,” which got two beats, so we knew it was a half note. Then we keep singing at one letter per beat until we got to “L-M-N-O.” “L-M” and “N-O” are all eighth notes, and when you write it down, be sure you remember to join the sticks at the top with a bar like it shows below:

notes notation


(Remember that this is not the way the notes look on a piece of sheet music; this is just how we write it down when we’re composing music or writing down something we’re hearing, so we can be faster.)



So the first part of the ABC song up until “P” would look something like this:

ABC song first line notation







ABC song notation with letters







Now, here comes the fun part: Listen for those “quick quick slow” rhythms in the music you hear! Today I heard it in this song by Alex Boyé and The Piano Guys. See if YOU can hear it! (Pay attention at 1:10…)

Don’t you love that beautiful playing?  Notice the way the performers all show how they feel about their music?  How do their expressions make it more fun to watch? Remember how we raise the bow at the end of a song to let the sound ring? Yep. So when you practice (violinists and violists), “zip and step” your feet and be firmly rooted to the ground like a tree so that you can sway with the “breeze” of your music as you feel it! Cellists, sit up tall and show you are proud to play! Have fun!

P.S. Want to see another cool “Africanized” song? Here’s a children’s choir singing with Alex Boyé the song “Let it Go” from “Frozen.”


Can you hear any eighth notes? 🙂